Ixia-Deploying Technology Solutions for Securing Efficiency

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Bhaskar Agastya, Ixia India
Bhaskar Agastya, Country Manager- Sales, Ixia India

Ixia is a leader in assessing, validating, monitoring and securing today’s financial networks. With Ixia solutions, you can be confident that your network technologies, deployments, and security are working at their highest efficiency, says Bhaskar Agastya, Country Manager- Sales, Ixia India, in conversation with Rajbala of Elets News Network (ENN)

What are the emerging Information Technology (IT) challenges for financial services sector?

The financial industry has experienced a variety of challenges over the past few years. Many of which revolve around operating in a new economic context after the financial crisis, restoring public confidence in the industry, and competing with new, aggressive, non-traditional innovators. With the rise of Fintech in a digitised world, financial institutions are racing to embrace new-age technologies and delight customers with enhanced mobile and digital experiences. However, keeping up with the technology innovations presents a challenge in itself. Cyber insecurity, cost reduction, regulatory mandates, as well as next-gen platform and process changes resulting from new technology, are just a few. Several of these challenges have fallen upon IT to resolve.

In a nutshell, I feel, some of the IT challenges financial institutions facing today are:

  • Reducing security breaches and cyber theft, while increasing the business value of customer relationships
  • Achieving compliance to regulatory mandates
  • Transforming business to open doors for mobile and digital financial experiences
  • Leveraging technology to ensure a competitive advantage
  • Using technology to improve overall network performance

Improving network security is important for banking and financial industry. How do you keep up with technological innovations to minimise security threats? 

Hackers continue to mutate and mask malware in innovative ways. Researchers scramble to bring new products to market to counter these ever-evolving—or, mutated—threats.  These defenses, while powerful, have to process exponential increases in threats every year.  The Ixia Security Fabric helps relieve those burdens by blocking zero day mutations at their source.

Ixia’s ThreatARMOR solution, a key component of Ixia’s Security Fabric, adds Zero-Day Malware Immunity (ZDMI), which blocks mutated versions of malware that use sophisticated obfuscation techniques to evade detection by signature-based security engines. The Ixia Security Fabric provides robust resilience, context-aware intelligent data handling, and security intelligence, ensuring the right data gets to the right tools every time even when encrypted, and enhancing the performance of existing security tools.

Powered by feeds from the Ixia Application and Threat Intelligence Research Center, the Security Fabric can completely filter out unknown and zero-day attack mutations by blocking them based on their IP launch source rather than analyzing those millions of attacks one at a time.  By reducing bad traffic and their associated alerts, the Security Fabric makes existing security tools and teams more effective.
How can institutions reduce chances of cyber theft and ransomware?

Security is absolutely worth investing in and it is essential for any business in today’s technologically advanced world. An effective network security will provide benefits of improved productivity, visibility, legislative compliance and security of data. It will also control the access of valuable data that are critical for the business. Implementation of an efficient network security system also guarantees that only right people have the right level of access to critical data.

It is important to analyse the potential threats for your business.  Each business is exposed to different types of threats and one must think through the list of threats that are worth worrying over. This is why a risk assessment of relevant threats is necessary. Irrespective of the size of the business, every organization must have a clear security policy in place. A policy that defines the usage of IT resources by employees is an absolute necessity these days. Use an in-depth strategy while designing a secure network. It is ideal to not rely on a single device or product completely to administer security. It is very crucial to keep a tab on what operating system is running on each system on the network. This will help in understanding what vulnerabilities exist in each operating system and take relevant precautionary measures.

How can technology be deployed to improve overall performance to monitor network issues, financial trading applications, and other issues? 

The financial industry is at the forefront of network technology. The traditional image of bankers and financial traders is really an anachronism. The reality is that the financial industry, from retail banking to high speed trading, is at the cutting edge of network innovation – for better or for worse,whether adopting new technologies to allow customers broad-based mobile access, squeezing out the last few nanoseconds of latency, or providing air-tight security, network and IT leaders are always looking for newer and better advantages. New technology has pitfalls as well. Like the popular image of the banker, the gun-wielding bank robber is equally anachronistic. Bank robbing is now an ultra-sophisticated cybercrime, where highly-organized syndicates leverage their own technology and the ever-growing complexity of networks to their advantage. Sophisticated network equipment and topologies can lead to complex and slow fault-finding processes and times.

Enterprises cannot completely eliminate risk. But they can greatly mitigate it by having the best possible information – better data yields better decisions. With better information they can:

  • Legitimize vendor claims so right technology bets can be made
  • Optimize technology roll outs, application performance, and network availability
  • Take the guesswork out of network security performance and resilience
  • Eliminate blind spots in the network by implementing end-to-end visibility
  • Provide operators with actionable insight by maximizing the use of network tools

Tell us about the Ixia’s technology offerings providing competitive advantages to financial services.  

Ixia is a leader in assessing, validating, monitoring, and securing today’s financial networks. With Ixia solutions, you can be confident that your network technologies, deployments, and security are working at their highest efficiency. Ixia delivers the actionable insights into what you need to do and how you can react in order maximize your network’s potential. Ixia has worked with most major global investment banks, 11 out of the top 15 stock exchanges around the world, and eight of the world’s top high-frequency traders. Ixia is a world leader in infrastructure testing, and our flagship IxNetwork and IxLoad products are used worldwide.

Our BreakingPoint security products are recognized throughout the industry as a leading, go to technology. With Ixia’s Visibility Architecture, which includes the Net Tool Optimizer (NTO) and Ixia Net Optics tap products, our network monitoring solutions give you actionable insights, allowing your monitoring tools to provide the best and most useful data about what is happening in your network.

Regular testing and validation of functionality/defenses under load/attack/DDoS Regular testing and validation of functionality/defenses under load/attack/DDoS Device/Solution evaluation projects Device/Solution evaluation projects Optimise Vendor Selection and Technology Rollout Optimise Vendor Selection and Technology Rollout Pre-Deployment and Vendor Selection Architecture Deployment and Ongoing Ops Ongoing Security Improve Network Performance, Scalability, and Resilience Improve Network Performance, Scalability, and Resilience Eliminate Blind Spots with End-to-End Visibility Eliminate Blind Spots with End-to-End Visibility Verify/Validate as design/architecture changes Verify/Validate as design/architecture changes Optimise tuning changes before releasing into production Optimize tuning changes before releasing into production Eliminate blind spots Optimise tool performance Manage 10/40/100GE tool compatibility Provide contextual info to tools (device, app, location) Eliminate blind spots Optimize tool performance Manage 10/40/100GE tool compatibility Provide contextual info to tools (device, app, location) Evaluation of new vendors, models, numbers etc.

Evaluation of new vendors, models, numbers etc… Ongoing cyber-range training for staff ongoing cyber-range training for staff Know the Exact Network Response to Attacks Know the Exact Network Response to Attacks Our revolutionary TradeView feed monitoring product gives a unique insight into the quality of trading critical, real-time market data feeds.

Ixia’s testing solutions, security assessments, and Visibility Architecture work together to help network and IT groups reduce risk in your network and optimize your applications and services so that your customers will receive the highest quality of experience. The combination of Ixia’s network testing and network visibility solutions provides a unique network partner that can ensure your financial network at all stages – from design, to deployment, to production. With Ixia, you can Improve network performance, scalability, and resiliency, legitimise vendors’ claims and optimize your network planning, secure your network by knowing exactly how it responds to malicious attacks and eliminate blind spots with end-to-end visibility

What benefits Ixia can offer to enterprises through testing as a service especially for the financial industry?

Ixia’s Testing as a Service (TaaS) delivers a fast, repeatable and accurate approach. Ixia’s professional assessments help in supplementing customer’s technical staff with Ixia test experts, minimising project risk by performing real-world testing, offer an easily expensed service (capex vs. opex), creating an easy, “lightweight” approach and delivering actionable insight into the infrastructure.  With testing as a service (TaaS), Ixia provides access to world-leading test equipment, proven and repeatable test plans and highly experienced test experts.

Testing as a service improves ROI while reducing the strain on internal resources and helps keep high-profile deployments on track, ensuring end-users’ ultimate quality of experience (QoE). Along with standardized test plans that ensure efficiency and repeatability, TaaS assessments feature timely expert reporting and analysis that increases the reach and value of results.

Though we have Virtual (VE) versions of pretty much all our hardware, TaaS can specifically benefit those who are looking at Ixia for transactional engagement which includes evaluating vendors,  . We recommend to leverage our services suite far beyond TaaS. Our cyber range services offer training and enablement to security staff (SoC and NoC teams). We build “red-team”, “Blue-team” scenarios and divide teams into attackers and defenders. If one wants they should look at cyber range services as TaaS as well, as it tests knowledge of human capital and trains them to defend attacks in an event of an attack.

How Ixia helps in optimising IT investments while minimising test investments?

Ixia provides access to world-leading test equipment, proven and repeatable test plans and highly experienced test experts. Testing as a service improves ROI while reducing the strain on internal resources and helps keep high-profile deployments on track, ensuring end-users’ ultimate quality of experience (QoE). Along with standardized test plans that ensure efficiency and repeatability, TaaS assessments feature timely expert reporting and analysis that increases the reach and value of results.